Beach camps operational in Ganga, Uttarakhand misleading NGT: NGO

NEW DELHI: Uttarakhand government is trying to mislead the National Green Tribunal by denying the existence of several beach camps operating on the banks of river Ganga despite a ban, an NGO claimed today.

The NGO, which has moved the green panel against “unregulated operation” of beach camps in Rishikesh, informed a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that some camps were even involved in constructing semi-permanent structures on the tributary of the Ganga.

“The applicant has visited the area on January 19 for verifying contents of affidavit of state government and found that several camps are set up on the beach of river Hamel and also found two camps on river Ganga.

“The applicant also found that some of the camps are involved in construction of semi-permanent structure on the river bank in the form of tents and in some areas platform for setting up of semi-permanent structure was in progress,” the NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE) said in an affidavit filed before the bench.

On January 18, the Uttarakhand government had refuted allegations that beach camps are operational on the stretch from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh on river Ganga.

The NGO said it had inspected various sites to verify the statements made by the state government and found that large numbers of beach camps have “mushroomed” on the river bank.

“The findings of the applicant by site visit clearly establish the fact that the state government is trying to mislead the Tribunal by filing incorrect affidavit. The NGO has not only found large number of beach camps in existence but has also found that some of them are converting it into semi-permanent kind of structure.

“Some of the photographs already filed clearly show that semi-permanent structure are constructed in the form of beach camp on the bank of river Ganga and its tributary river Hemal,” the affidavit, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, said while detailing the locations of some such camps.

NGT had banned camping activities in the entire belt of Kaudiyala to Rishikesh till a regulatory regime came into force but had permitted the adventure sport rafting.

The panel had constituted a committee of officials from various departments of central and Uttarakhand government to prepare a regulatory regime.



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